The Times ran a great entry on their bats blog, getting some input from some notable Yankee bloggers regarding the upcoming season. It’s an entertaining read and worth checking out. They interview guys from Bronx Banter, RAB, and Was Watching.
Oddly enough though, I was not invited to participate despite my large following and sharp insight. Oh well, that won’t stop me.
What off-season move do you wish the Yankees had made and why?
To be honest, I don’t know if there is one. I’ve been bit skeptical of signing A.J. Burnett, but so have a lot of people, and I’ve since been able to talk myself into it (somewhat). I wish they had been able to trade Nady for a good package and then simply signed one of the many available cheap corner outfielders to back up Swisher, but that isn’t a huge deal. I don’t think they could get any real value of Nady, so it’s better holding on to him.
Might be splitting hairs here, but who will prove to be a bigger acquisition, C.C. Sabathia or Teixeira?
This is definitely splitting hairs, but my vote is for CC. As good as Tex is, I think CC is the best at his position. Let’s play this hypothetical: if you could trade CC for any other starting pitcher, only you actually just trade the player, NOT the contract, would you do it? For example, trading CC for Lincecum would make sense because Lincecum is cost controlled, but if you chose him in this example, he would assume CC’s current deal.
Well I wouldn’t trade CC for anyone. Who has CC’s combination of skill and durability? Sure, you could argue that Lincecum, Halladay, and a lot of other good pitchers could be more dominant at a given time. But half of being a good starting pitcher is not only dominating, but pitching a lot. And CC does just that – I would be as optimistic about anyone else.
Now look at Tex – if it was open to all players, I’d trade him for Hanley Ramirez, Grady Sizemore, and probably a few others. If you limit it just to first basemen, I’d trade for Pujols and there are others I’d at least consider. So both players are fantastic in my book, but CC slightly more so.
[Brian], there is little doubt that Teixeira will help this team in the short term and probably for many years to come. But how concerned are you about Teixeira, on an aging team, clogging up a position for eight years that is often considered a prime spot to move aging players?
Well, I don’t think a team like the Yankees can worry themselves that much about what’s going to happen down the road when they want to win now. Bottom line, a player of Tex’s talents is worth that much. Jeter’s bat doesn’t really play well at first (and he probably should be let go after his contract expires). The only person who is signed really long term is A-Rod. Sure, he may decline, but by then the DH role could be open, they could platoon DH and first, one of them could play the occasional OF. Unless A-Rod’s bat takes a serious plummet (which is possible), it shouldn’t be a problem.
A few other things to note: A-Rod’s contract is actually front loaded, so he’ll be making less as he gets older, which will make him more valuable. Also, isn’t third base more about good hands and reflexes than anything else? Mike Lowell is pretty old and moves like he should be playing shuffleboard in a nursing home, yet he’s considered a great third basemen. It’s reasonable to think A-Rod’s defensive decline won’t really come all that soon.
The Yankees’ outfield has not had this many question marks in a long time. How do you see center field playing out?
I give Brett Gardner about a 60% percent chance of staying out there all year. So, yes, I think he will, but this is the Yankees, and I have a feeling that teams will really be selling players come June due to the economy. So even if Brett is doing alright, the Yanks could stumble into something too good to pass up.
And in right, should the Yankees trade Nick Swisher or Xavier Nady, or keep both?
Everyone knows this by now – keep Swish, deal Nady if you get a great offer; otherwise offer him arb if he has a decent year and net some picks or get him back on another one year deal.
What do you expect from Posada? Can he be effective defensively with a surgically repaired shoulder?
The number of runners he’s thrown out this spring has to make you optimistic, as that’s one stat that actually has some credibility in spring training. I think he catches over 100 games, and having perhaps the best defensive catcher in the league as a backup helps.
It’s been another controversial spring for Alex Rodriguez, though he’s never faced a bigger baseball-related issue than his admission of using performance-enhancing drugs. How do you see A-Rod handling himself on the field this season?
He’ll hit because that’s what he does. At this point I kind of hope he embraces the villain role a little. Showing some anger could do him good, as well as looking to stick it to his naysayers.
Also controversial is the new Yankee Stadium. I think we would all agree that it’s quite impressive, but some wonder at what cost. What are your thoughts on that?
The new stadium was a good economic venture at the time it was planned and should still end up being one, despite the economy. People always complained about the old stadium. Every “best stadium” list I’ve ever read always has the Yankees pretty far down, despite Fenway Park being near the top. Of course, Fenway is a pretty awful place to see a game, but it has the more “retro” style that Yankee stadium lost when it was remodeled. So now people are outraged a stadium they didn’t like is being replaced with a new one?
As bloggers, what one player, coach or topic generates the most interest among your online readers and why?
I have no idea since I don’t think anyone outside my friends and family are guilted into reading this, so I’ll just mention what I end up writing about the most: steroids and A-Rod. Now that those topics have converged, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to handle it. It’s ironic, because I wish people would stop writing about those things and as a response, I write about them. Oh well.
The Yankees have come to expect a battle with Boston almost every season for the A.L. East, but now the Rays have joined the Red Sox as legitimate contenders in the division. Do the Yankees have all the pieces to reclaim the division?
Of course. It will come down to injuries to the starters in particular. If the Yankee starting 5 remains relatively healthy, they’ll win the division. The thing the Yankees and Red Sox have an advantage with is their depth and ability to fill problems. If the Rays lose three players of the caliber of Wang, Posada, and Matsui, like the Yankees did last year, I don’t think they can recover.
If the Yankees don’t make the playoffs this year, what will be the reasons?
Injuries. I suppose Nady, Swisher, Gardner, and Cano all stand a reasonable chance of having bad years, but the injuries frighten me much more.